Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) has been controversial. It has sometimes been dismissed as imaginary. The British researchers have been conducting a mass study, comparing over 40,000 genes and variants in sufferers and healthy people. SOT (English speech) super: Dr. Jonathan Kerr, principal investigator, St. George's Medical School "Four years ago we set out on this programme of research and we were frustrated by the fact that chronic fatigue syndrome had been labelled as possibly, "All in the mind" and we have shown that there are distinct biological differences between patients and normal people.” They have used two separate techniques : examining the DNA of patients and non-sufferers, the latter known as "Controls" while also studying the protein samples from the two groups. Results show striking differences that have led to a potential breakthrough. Treatment could be based on immune therapy as well as finding a diagnostic test across a broad range of proteins. SOT (English speech) super: Dr. Jonathan Kerr, principal investigator, St. George's Medical School "We’ve shown that several hundred genes are very, very different between patients and controls and we now must make sure that these are specific differences to this disease and after that we can use that information to design new treatments.” The next step is setting up clinical trials using beta interferon, a drug used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. This drug boosts the body's immune system, combating the viruses thought to be among the causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A German company, Schering AG, is contributing supplies of the drug for this project. SOT (English speech) super: Dr. Jonathan Kerr, principal investigator, St. George's Medical School "We’re in the process of collection of several thousand samples from patients, normal people and other patients with control diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, for example, and we must test our gene signature in all these groups to make sure it is specific.” Though they have received funding in the past, a fresh financial boost is needed for this next stage. With further support, the researchers could make a vital contribution to understanding and combating this debilitating illness.